6 Tips for Building a Brain-Fueling Home

Simple ways to improve your family's health -- and your child's mind.



eating breakfast

  1. Strive for five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Replace easy-to-grab sugary treats with snack-sized bags of celery, carrots, and broccoli; single serve fruit packs; and boxes of raisins that kids can enjoy on the go.
  2. Customize your pop. Cut down on caffeinated and sugary soda by creating your own fizzy drinks. Just mix 100% fruit juice and club soda.
  3. Snack. Children's small stomachs can't always take in enough at meals to meet their nutritional needs. Two or three hours before a meal, enjoy smart snacks such as trail mix, peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers, or low-fat yogurt with a touch of sprinkles.
  4. Post the pyramid. Make a food pyramid with the daily recommendations for children and hang it in the kitchen (encourage your kids to help you illustrate it with photos clipped from magazines or their own drawings). From the bottom up, your pyramid should include:
    • Bread group: 6-9 servings
    • Vegetable group: 3-4 servings
    • Fruit group: 2-3 servings
    • Milk, yogurt, cheese group: 2-3 servings
    • Meat, beans, eggs and nuts: 5-6 ounces
    • Fats: 53-73 grams
    • Sugar: 6-12 teaspoons
    • (Note: Younger children are on the lower end of the recommendations.)
  5. Don't skip meals. Lack of fuel makes a body and brain tired. 
  6. Control portion sizes. Use visual cues like these to teach proper serving size:
    • 1 cup of frozen yogurt = a baseball
    • 1/2 cup of rice = a rounded handful
    • 1/4 cup of raisins = an egg
    • 3 ounces meat = a deck of cards
    • 1 1/2 ounces of cheese = 6 dice

    When eating out, avoid ordering large servings. If restaurant portions are still larger than the recommended serving sizes, save the excess and take home leftovers.

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